I miss your subways and their timeliness and 24-hour service. I miss your panhandlers that would serenade the entire car with mid-90s slow jams, and then trying to hawk some random ass toothpaste they stole from Duane Reed.
I miss your 4 am last calls and the inevitable stories that they all contained. I miss throwing up dubs and talking like Ice Cube in a crowd full of Williamsburg hipsters. I miss getting lost in Harlem in the dead of night and wondering if I was going to get robbed for the first time in my life.
(Seriously, I ended up walking a girl home from Harlem to Morningside Heights because we forgot that the D train passed over her stop on weekends. She was scared as hell. I tried to be stoic and reassuring, but internally, I was freaking the fuck out too. I hadn’t been that scared since someone gave me bootleg directions to Torrance and got my ass lost in Compton.)
I miss my friends. The ones who open the door without pants on. The ones who I’ve had to carry home (twice, on two separate trips). The ones who only knew me as a digitized face and a name. The ones who fart at work. The ones that make me forget that I’m dancing on a box with a bunch of other dudes. The ones who played guessing games on my dry streak. The ones who got married on a whim, kinda. The ones who got followed by a lonely hipster who would not stop talking about Anthony Kiedis and his alleged taste for underage pussy.
I miss that one time I got off the subway on Nostrand Avenue and thought to myself two things: “Shit, this is the same street from that Dead Prez song.” and “This reminds me of East Oakland. Why the fuck am I in the New York version of East Oakland after dark on my god damn vacation?”
I miss your halal carts, your souvlaki carts, your Jewish delis, your meatball subs, your xiao long bao, your monopoly on these delicacies. I miss 53rd and 6th. I miss Broadway and 75th. I miss Katz. I really, really miss Katz.
I miss 5 shots for 10 dollars at the rinky-dink Intercontinental in St. Marks. I miss getting drunk at Kenkka amongst all their Japanese porno decor. I do not miss that one bourgeois bar on Avenue A, the one with the bearded bartender who threw me my change in front of my face like I wasn’t going to tip him. So I didn’t.
I even miss the way my scarves disappear on every fucking trip to New York.
More than anything, I miss the way I felt about you. You were a city full of infinite possibilities, which is really just a fancy way of saying that I thought you were a city that would fix all my problems. The way I ran your streets and drank your wine will never be replicated. I thank you for the good times, New York.
But now that I’ve grown older, my eyes don’t sparkle in front of your lights, your women don’t seem as beautiful as they are robotic, and your magic is no different from any other place I would’ve called home.
I hope this jaded thing isn’t permanent. I really do miss the way I felt about you, New York.